To this day, I can still (poorly) sing along to Carly Simon’s 1971 top twenty song “Anticipation.” My singing is not fit for public consumption – just ask my husband who is subjected to it in the car…That aside, things are gearing up for our final show of the season in less than two weeks. Anticipation is building and hopes are high that we will do well in our two finals classes. My riding has come along way the past few years and is finally fit for public viewing.
With the seasonable temperatures, we have been able to ride and not finish looking like drowned rats. Although the region could use some more rain, I am not complaining that the sun is out more often than not. We have been able to school 4 or 5 days a week. Ike had his pedicure last week as well as an acupuncture and chiropractic session. My extensive packing lists are on my desk as well as the lists of stuff that I need to get done at home and work before we leave. The dog sitter has been hired. Ike has attempted to grow back some mane. We have about 1.5 inches of spikey growth in the “bald zone.” I am hopeful that there might be enough hair to fake some sort of braid. Still praying that roached manes will surge into popularity with dressage riders in the next 10 days.
Our lessons have been intensive as we prepare for the finals classes; the classes are big (25+ riders) and there is no room for error since there are two sets of judges’ eyes on you. A lot of discussions about keeping Ike up in his bridle and not letting him dive into the connection. My whip has been taken away since it not allowed in the championship classes. I’ve played with a longer spur so that I can speak to the other time zone that is Ike’s hind end. A few test movements are interspersed in the lessons, but we continue to focus on me understanding when I am connected and through and when Ike’s stride is too short/tight/quick/choppy. Once the problem is identified (if I am successful at the identification) then we work on what I need to do to fix the problem. Thankfully, I’m now better able to fix the problems. Could it be that I might have discovered the secret language of the half halt?! I’m still waiting to be taught the secret handshake, but that can wait until after the show.
Of course, anticipation can be a bad thing when your horse has ridden the dressage tests enough that he begins to anticipate the next move. I finally realized that Ike was anticipating the up and down transitions in my Training Level Test 2 rides. When I sat back and looked at my score sheets from this year, I saw that we quite frequently jig right before our trot transitions. We also got hit a number of times for trotting before we finished our right lead canter circle. While practicing my tests at home, sure enough, Ike is jigging and trotting too early. Hmm. Guess I need to change up my preparatory methods. Part of it is that I might be on cruise control myself. I should know better by now, but some habits are hard to break.
Back in the saddle again tomorrow. Keep fingers, toes, and hooves crossed for us!